This newly-opened solar powered school in Wolfhagen, Germany has repurposed an old cold war army barracks into an energy-efficient modern learning environment. The visionary design takes advantage of the huge footprint of the former tank armory to tuck a campus underneath, while the roof was replaced with translucent thin-film solar panels. The vocational school is a excellent example of green architecture that exposes students to sustainability while providing a beautiful, light-filled, and airy building to learn in.
The immense translucent roof is a marvel– 5000 square meters of the panes are outfitted with 7160 thin film solar modules. Due to their 1 micron-thick profile they are semi-translucent, which allows lots of light into the building while reducing glare and heat. Windows on the side walls open automatically to provide natural ventilation and fresh air. The 220 kW array is one of largest of its kind in Europe.
Inside the 4,400 square meter building, the original concrete floor and support beams are kept intact. Each of the Modular, highly-insulated classrooms located throughout the building has its own climate control. The result is essentially a double-skinned environment that has a greatly reduced energy load. The school is the seed for a much larger science and learning center that will make use of the existing buildings located on-site.